Squilchuck forest health treatment to conclude this year

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April 18, 2019

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

While the Legislature is in the process of developing new budgets here in Olympia, I thought I would take an opportunity to update you on an important project back home, one that I was able to secure in last year’s operating budget at the request of the Forest Ridge Wildfire Coalition in Wenatchee. This non-profit group, which has done an outstanding job of implementing FireWise principles, approached me last year seeking help to reduce wildfire risks posed by a section of Squilchuck State Park.

The wildfire coalition has been working closely with the State Parks and Recreation Commission to improve forest health in the park, which is adjacent to the Forest Ridge community of approximately 120 homes. While important work has been completed in much of the park, thanks to the leadership from Washington State Parks, one remaining portion (approximately 20 acres near the southwest corner) poses a particular challenge and had yet to be treated.

This portion of the park would have continued to be a problem area and jeopardize adjacent land if it went untreated. The work involves more than the State Parks budget could support, so the Forest Ridge coalition, led by chairman Jerry Holm, reached out to me several months before the 2018 session. My office developed and submitted a budget request for $100,000 to fund the treatment of the remaining 20 acres.

Forest health funding for Squilchuck State Park

Squilchuck SP budget language

An example of funding secured through a “budget proviso” in the 2018 supplemental operating budget, this $100,000 appropriation directed funds to the Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission for forest health activities at the Squilchuck State Park in Chelan County.

We were very pleased that the Legislature agreed to fund my request. This is a win for one of our local state parks and it is a continuation of the awesome work being done by the Forest Ridge Wildlife Coalition. I am very pleased to see the cooperative working relationship its members have developed with State Parks and its staff.

In broader terms, the $100,000 funding included in the 2018 supplemental budget is another positive product of our community’s ongoing conversation and work on wildfire. It just goes to show, similar to the work of the Wildfire Project, what can be accomplished when people work together, share ideas, and find creative solutions to resolving issues. I am very proud to have been a part of assisting State Parks and the Forest Ridge Wildfire Coalition on this issue.

Squilchuck SP controlled burn

After public meetings and coordination with adjacent landowners, State Parks contracted the work to be completed, some of which began in late 2018 to minimize risks. The area was responsibly thinned with logs removed and extra debris effectively burned. Work is scheduled to be completed in 2019.

Squilchuck SP map

Squilchuck State Park (inside the white line) is adjacent to homes in the Forest Ridge community. The yellow areas inside the park have received forest thinning treatments. My budget funding directed funds to the remaining area (in purple), about 20 acres.

Jerry Holm recently wrote an excellent column in the Wenatchee World about wildfire and the Squilchuck Valley. You can read it here.

I’d like to extend a special thank you to everyone involved in this project, including Chelan County, Forest Ridge Wildfire Coalition, State Parks, and other stakeholders. To read more about this project as described in the Wenathee World, please click here. As we approach summer and our expanding wildfire season, please review these Department of Natural Resources recommendations about wildfire prevention.

Thank you again for the opportunity to serve our 12th District!



Brad Hawkins

State Senator Brad Hawkins
12th Legislative District
E-mail: brad.hawkins@leg.wa.gov 

Website: senatorbradhawkins.org

107 Newhouse Building - P.O. Box 40412 | Olympia, WA 98504-0412
(360) 786-7622 or Toll-free: (800) 562-6000